Sturgeon outrage: Scottish Labour blast IndyRef2 plans accusing FM of ‘dividing’ Scotland
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Richard Leonard said the party will go into next year’s Holyrood election opposed to a second independence referendum. Following a meeting of the party’s Scottish Executive Committee this week, Mr Leonard said the committee has agreed to campaign for a programme of home rule, devolution and democratic advance within the UK.
The party said it was opposed to independence and is committed to Scotland remaining in the union, with a plan for further devolution for the whole of the UK.
It added that it wanted renewed partnership between all its nations based on a “progressive federal structure”.
Leaders said that following Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the last thing Scotland needs was “more constitutional turmoil and economic instability”.
Mr Leonard said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the terms of the constitutional debate in Scotland.
“We believe that the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections must be about electing a Government and a Parliament that will dedicate its entire focus to rebuilding Scotland’s economy, public services and communities after the devastating impact of COVID-19.
“That work must be the focus of the next Scottish Government and so we will be going into that election in 2021 with a Scottish Labour Party position that is opposed to a second referendum.”
He added: “If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that people do not want to be divided.
“Communities want and need to come together.
“We thrive when we are working towards the common good.”
The party’s view comes after a second public poll this year revealed support for Scottish independence.
The Panelbase poll, carried out by ScotGoesPop, asked the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Results showed that 48 percent of Scots said Yes whilst 45 percent said No.
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The poll also suggested that 18 percent of No voters from 2014 would now vote in favour of independence while just 8 percent of Yes voters said they would now vote No.
But Keith Brown, deputy leader of the Scottish National Party hit back at Mr Leonard and said: “In the same weekend that yet another poll confirms a growing and majority support for independence, the Labour party have decided to alienate themselves even further from the people of Scotland.
“The party’s top brass aren’t just out of touch with the electorate, though, they are blatantly ignoring their own members and politicians who have publicly backed Scotland’s right to choose a better future.
“No wonder support for the Labour party has totally collapsed in Scotland and they have lost the trust of voters.”
James Kelly, of ScotGoesPop who carried out the poll, added of the outcome: “It could be that the Yes vote has been holding steady over the last few months after an initial post-election surge.
“Or it could be that the surge subsided just slightly in late winter and early spring as attention turned away from Brexit and towards the coronavirus crisis, and that there has now been a bounce-back for Yes as a result of the Dominic Cummings episode and the UK Government’s mishandling of the pandemic.
“I must say I’m inclined much more towards the latter theory.”
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